About Norma Teagarden
This pianist was the sole female in the group of four Teagarden siblings set on lifelong musical courses by their mother, ragtime pianist and music teacher Helen Teagarden. Much more famous, of course, than either Norma Teagarden or her brothers Charlie Teagarden and Clois "Cubby" Teagarden -- trumpeter and drummer, respectively -- was trombonist Jack Teagarden. The latter employed his sister in his rhythm section for several periods in the '40s and '50s.
Doubling on violin during the beginning of her professional career, Norma Teagarden was based out of Oklahoma City for several years before heading southwest to New Mexico during the late '20s. There she became part of several territory bands from that area. She was back in Oklahoma City by the '30s, leading her own combo there as well as nabbing gigs in nearby Texas. The pianist headed for California in 1942, again heading up her own outfit prior to joining forces with her illustrious brother from 1944 through 1947, much of that time spent on the road.
Following a hiatus in this relationship, Norma Teagarden freelanced for a series of California bandleaders including Ben Pollack, Matty Matlock, Ada Leonard, and Ray Bauduc. She was back with Jack Teagarden's band from 1952 through 1955 and in 1957 set up what would be her final musical home base, San Francisco. Through nearly four decades she was a vital part of that hilly city's classic jazz and Dixieland scene. She was often associated with the veteran bandleader Turk Murphy, did many solo piano gigs, and in the '70s toured Europe in a combo co-led by Bob Mielke and Ev Farey. ~ Eugene Chadbourne, Rovi